The first white settler, John McKee, came to the Boligee area around 1816. When the town's population had expanded enough, town leaders petition the Presbyterian Church in the United States, the official governing body of the denomination, for location of a church in the town. It was granted, and the Bethsalem Presbyterian Church was established in 1833. At this time, the town's center was located approximately 1.5 miles from the current center. Its economy centered largely on agriculture at this time.
The Northeast and Southwest Railroad began construction in 1853, with a rail line planned for the Boligee vicinity. Completion of the line was delayed until until 1870 because of the Civil War, but soon after, the post office and businesses in Boligee relocated near the line. The old town site, known as Old Boligee, was eventually abandoned.
A line of the St. Louis-San Francisco Railroad was built through the area in the early 1920s, and Alabama Power brought electricity to the area around the same time. the town could support two hotels, two cotton gins, and a cooling station for milk. The town incorporated in 1927, and Highway 11 was routed through town in the 1930s.
In 1996, three African American churches were burned in Boligee, bringing national attention to town and causing racial tension. People from as far away as Europe, however, came to help rebuild the churches.
Boligee's population according to the 2010 Census was 328. Of that number, 90.2 percent of respondents identified themselves as African American, 8.8 percent as white, 0.9 percent as two or more races, and 0.3 percent as Hispanic or Latino. The town's median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $11,888, and the per capita income was $16,092.
According to 2010 Census estimates, the work force in Boligee was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (21.5 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (19.6 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (17.2 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (13.5 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (11.0 percent)
· Manufacturing (6.7 percent)
· Construction (4.9 percent)
· Public administration (4.3 percent)
· Retail trade (1.2 percent)
Schools in Boligee are part of the Greene County school system; the town has approximately 470 students and 33 teachers in one junior high school.
U.S. Highway 11/State Highway 7 runs southwest-northeast through the lower third of Boligee. Interstate Highway 20/59 runs in the same direction skirting the northern town limit.
Boligee Hill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Bethsalem Presbyterian Church and St. Mark's Episcopal
Church and Cemetery are listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
Glass, Mary Morgan, Ed. A Goodly Heritage: Memories of Greene County. Eutaw, Ala.: Greene County Historical Society, 1977.
Greene County Heritage Book Committee. Heritage of Greene County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, Inc., 2001.
James P. Kaetz
Published April 4, 2013
Last updated April 4, 2013